Joint injections can be used as part of a treatment plan for people with chronic joint pain. A steroid medication is injected using a needle directly into a joint such as a knee, ankle, or wrist. Joint injections might be given to treat inflammatory joint conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, tendonitis, bursitis and, osteoarthritis.
Who benefits from joint injections?
Joint injections are best for localized pain and swelling which is the pain and swelling that are concentrated in a single joint. If you hurt all over or experiencing pain in all your joints than a joint injection is not the best treatment option. But if one particular joint is giving you trouble, a joint injection may be helpful.
Types of joint injections
There are two main types of joint injections which are using to treat various joint related problems. These are;
- Corticosteroid injections
- Hyaluronic acid injections
Corticosteroids are powerful inflammation-reducing drugs. People with RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis (but not OA) often take corticosteroids such as prednisone by mouth to reduce inflammation throughout the body. When a corticosteroid is given as joint injection by directly into a joint, it reduces inflammation which can result in a decrease in pain and improved mobility.
Hyaluronic acid injections
A second and less common type of joint injection uses hyaluronic acid which is a substance found naturally in the synovial fluid in the joint where it gives the viscous quality that helps to lubricate and absorb shock in the joint. When joint is affected by OA, then there will be less hyaluronic acid in the joint fluid. By injecting a synthetic version of hyaluronic acid into the joint, the viscosity of synovial fluid also improve thereby allowing for smoother movement and reduced pain.
- The skin at the injection site will be carefully cleaned to remove bacteria.
- Now, a needle is inserted into the joint space.
- An empty syringe will be attached to the needle if the plan is to remove fluid.
- After any necessary fluid is removed, a small syringe containing the medicines is attached to the needle and the steroid is slowly injected into the joint.
- The needle is finally removed, and pressure is held in order to prevent bleeding or leaking of the steroid.
- A bandage is applied to the injection site at last.
Side effects which are associated with joint injections are
- Allergic reactions
- Nerve damage but it’s rare
- Skin discoloration
In some cases, joint injections are performed under guidance of ultrasound or fluoroscopy, especially for joints that are difficult to inject such as hips, shoulders, or the jaw.
To know more about joint injections or for any other further queries call on 815.412.6166 at Zaki Anwar MD center.